Zoei’s Corner

Improvements Behind-the-Scenes Photo Shoot

Posted on April 19, 2012. Filed under: Zoei's Corner |

Florida Photo Shoot

Every winter, Eric, our ridiculously-creative Art Director, left us freezing in the snowy tundra of Cleveland to go bask in the warm sun of Florida for a vacation “photo shoot.” We never really knew what went on down there, but he always came back with amazing photos of our outdoor furniture collections and patio cushions. But come on, who doesn’t know that all of those beautiful photos can be created by using some fancy software filters while Eric lounges on a hammock sipping a frosty beverage, complete with a little green umbrella?

But this year, Eric brought back proof that setting up each shot takes a lot of time and detailed work. So if you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the creative world of product photography, check out his behind-the-scenes video shot on location in Longboat Key, Florida. You’ll see there are lots of little tweaks that go on with each shot to make sure we get just the right image. I think next year I’ll see if Eric needs an assistant to hold his laptop – or better yet, lay in the chaise lounge on the beach (to make sure it doesn’t blow away, of course) and taste test the drink props.

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How I Puppy Potty Trained my Dog….Incorrectly

Posted on February 28, 2011. Filed under: Zoei's Corner |

Puppy Potty Training OllieMy springer spaniel Ollie is now 10 years old and he’s still as rambunctious as ever. When Ollie was a puppy I lived in an apartment and worked long hours at my job (not the ideal situation when getting a puppy, I know). I took Ollie on long walks every morning and every evening to try and wear him out and so he could take care of his business.

Ollie learned the basic commands, “sit, stay, get the ball, leave it, halt, etc” and, I even potty trained him, all be it, incorrectly. You see, even though he went potty on his walks, Ollie, being a puppy, still had to go during the day and since I wasn’t at home, I had to designate an area in my house for him to go. I tried crate training him, but to be honest, living in Earthquake country, I was so scared that an earthquake would come and he wouldn’t be able to run out of the house if he needed to (doesn’t make sense, I know, but it was my rationality at the time). I decided I would stack old towels on the tile in the laundry room and I subsequently potty trained Ollie to go potty on the towel. It actually worked out great when he was a puppy, but now that Ollie is older and we live in a house, he doesn’t understand that going on my white carpet in the living room, is not the same as going on the old towels in the laundry room. Ugh.

What should I have done differently? For one thing, I should have made it a point to come home during my lunch hour and let him out or haggle a trade with my neighbor to let him out while I’m away. There are also a lot of products on the market that can help with potty training your puppy, like an indoor pet potty, but the most important thing, I think, is to make puppy potty training your number one priority until the little guy learns what he is supposed to do. You have to invest a lot of time and energy into puppy training, but in the end, it’s worth every minute. Live and learn.

–Zoei

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Floating Water Hammocks

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: Zoei's Corner |

With Summer just around the corner, I thought I’d share a story about how I try to stay cool during the Summer Heat.
floating water hammock
The floating water hammocks are the most amazing water floats around. My family and I take a lot of trips to the Colorado River in Arizona and let me tell you in the summer, it gets hot, hot, hot (I’m talking 120 degrees hot)!

We’ve tried everything you can imagine to try and cool down, but the “river heat” is like sticking your head in an oven – it’s that hot! We lay on rafts in the water, kiddie pools on the shore, float down stream in our life vests and even sit on the shore in a sun chair. So, I thought, “What the heck”, I’ll try out a floating water hammock.

I’ll admit, getting into the floating water hammock made me a little nervous. I didn’t want to be “that girl” that tips her raft over trying to get in it, but the raft was actually pretty easy to get into – I just pushed it down into the water and hopped on. It’s strange at first because I wasn’t used to laying IN the water, but after about 58 seconds, I was lounging in style, in the cool comfort of the Colorado River.

The floating water hammock has an inflated head rest and foot rest and a very convenient floating beverage holder – what more could you ask for! If you don’t want to lay flat down in the raft, you can easily adjust it to semi-recline, straddle or transform it into an arm chair. There are clips on the side of the floating water hammocks so you can clip them together as you float down river, which is what my sister and I did.

Here is why I think the floating water hammock is better than my old-school methods of cooling off at the river:

Life-vest floating = No tan
Regular raft = Have to jump off every 10 minutes and cool off in the water
Sitting in a chair on the shore = Can’t go anywhere
Laying in the kiddie pool = Come on, I don’t think I need spell that one out. 😉

Do you have any ideas on how to cool off in the hot, summer heat – let me know. You can send me an email at tips@improvementscatalog.com.

–Zoei
Improvements DIY Hobbiest

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